Well, I have been putting off my follow-up post that was promised in the blog about the Supervisory Board meeting from the beginning of this month. Don't worry. It is not that there is bad news or anything. If you read my post about the September 23rd meeting, you may recall that a new position was created. I wrote:
-A particular item of interest to point out, though, is that a new position has been created for a part-time monitor of onsite grounds projects and liaison between the supervisory board and the residents. The position title is Operations Manager, and a person with construction and project management background will be sought. Residents will also be able to contact the individual directly regarding issues and concerns.
The position has now been filled, and the gentleman (Mike Smith) hired into the position was introduced at the last meeting. Mr. Smith described his extensive background in construction and project management and stated that he lives minutes away from the West Villages communities, so he will be readily accessible when needed.
Good news, right? "Why delay sharing that," you ask? It was also said at the meeting that Mr. Smith's contact information will eventually be posted on the district's website. I was hoping to include that information for your reference within my post. As of this morning, his contact information is not on the site. Anyway, in probably the worst case scenario, it is likely to be shared at the next meeting in a couple of weeks. I will share it when it is made available.
Speaking of the district website...new state legislation mandates that special districts have a web presence and that certain information be publicly shared through it. Most of the new directives are already met by the West Villages Improvement District, including such requirements as posting both complete financial information and the contact information for each governing body member. And, with the new legislation, means for district accountability and oversight was also established. A link to the Special District Accountability Program is to be shared on each district website. Special districts have until October 2015 to fully comply with all of the new mandates.
It has come up occasionally where individual residents have expressed concerns over the ethics of some arrangements and decisions, two items in particular of which I am aware. The new program will provide a reporting system for such concerns and means to hold them accountable. Let me also speak directly to the couple of concerns that I have heard, though, as well...
The first that came to my attention was that there were some ill at ease with the fact that developer representatives held seats on the Supervisory Board. As this post is already getting lengthy and there is considerably more to come, I will not go into detail on the Statutes (special districts and community development districts - Chapters 189 and 190, I believe) that outline the process whereby elected residents progressively take over the Supervisory Board seats. Do know that it is a process defined in state law, and that process is being followed. The first elected resident seat was opened last spring and filled through a popular vote this past summer. I will only provide here what I see as the logic behind developer appointees filling the seats at the outset. Keep in mind that the developers of these communities do not build houses on public land, they own the lots until they sell them to new residents/landowners. And, it is landowners that get to vote on elected seats. So, if a neighborhood has 1,000 parcels to be built and 300 of them are complete and sold to individual landowners, it is still the developer that owns the majority of parcels in the neighborhood. It would not make sense to hold a vote where 70% of the eligible votes come from one source.
That is my take on it at least.
The second of the two concerns, really just a couple of queries that came up, revolved around costs incurred for community plan changes and why the district would be responsible for such expenses. To provide an example, a question came up as to why the district was responsible for the expenses that arose as a result of a request for changes to the number of lots within one of the communities was approved. The adjustments resulted in special assessment (district tax/CDD) projections and calculations needing to be professionally reconfigured, which incurs a fee for that service. It was asked why the district would pay the fee rather than the developer that requested the change. Essentially, the assessment calculations are a district administrative obligation. It is up to the supervisory board to understand all of the implications of decisions that they make for approvals or denials, and to make decisions with those implications in mind.
Also, regarding costs of building the communities themselves, each of the developers has their own agreement with the district as to what is district responsibility and what is the developer's, or even how responsibility may be shared between the two. Lennar, for instance, agreed to take on most of the financial burden from community infrastructure that would typically be publicly funded, as that unit of the district was in such financial distress when the company purchased the development. Other developers may submit to receive funding of all or a portion of eligible community structure elements, depending on the pre-established arrangement in place.
Hope that all helps to clarify some. I would be happy to answer any specific questions for you. If you'd like more information on anything in particular, just let me know. Also, I would love any feedback on what you would like to see for future blog topics.
Comment or email me at: email@example.com.
Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!
If you are considering purchasing a home in this community, please let me assist you. My services and extensive resources are of no cost to you, and in most instances, I am able to save home buyers some money. I even offer (*with a couple exclusions) $500 towards closing costs to my clients*. I do not work for any of the wonderful builders in the West Villages Improvement District, or any others for that matter. My services and information (including the resources provided on all of my websites) are wholly independent of these developers. No other independent professional is more knowledgeable about this community, and enlisting me to assist with your transaction serves also to fund these resources to keep them available for you and others on an ongoing basis.
Please, check out my website, and contact me for more information!
Look forward to hearing from you!
Aileen “Ali” Johnston, MHA
(currently working on an MBA in Real Estate)
Realtor®, Hoover Realty